Who’d have thought that toilet paper would become a preoccupation on our travels? In most of the countries we visited we were instructed not to throw toilet paper down the toilet. We got used to this, sort of…
Category archive: The Good Life
In the big picture New Zealand prospered in the 1960s. Materialism boomed, the economy flourished, brand-new houses dotted the suburbs and pop music and miniskirts and thumbing noses at conventions, gave spice to the day.
But on the edge of the lupins and the sand hills east of Christchurch, Cheryl Nicol’s childhood memory of 60s life, was one of make-do. In her memoir, A Parallel Universe, as the title suggests, a different world existed. Life was hard. The picture, is grim.
These days, we see more and more emphasis on mental health—particularly where topics such as depression, stress, and anxiety are concerned. People are more aware of the psychological aspects that affect and sometimes govern our lives. You see it on campuses and hospitals. You see it in the digital space, such as in social media.
Despite this, it seems many doctors still prefer to treat these mental conditions with drugs.
9 a.m. and the mercury is racing up to 30 degrees. “Better watch out” locals tell us. “It’s going to be a ripper”. They’re right, so we retreat into the air conditioned world which reminds us of home and what temperatures at Christmas should be.
But then we’re on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and it’s a cloudless Christmas Eve. Still, Christmas is Christmas and though the Mooloolaba Beach is scattered with bodies, the radio station plays – rather incongruously – White Christmas.
I started my cycle circuit of Northern Southland’s Eyre Mountains from Cromwell at 7am on a Saturday morning. But traffic around these parts has increased markedly and 7am was at least an hour too late for a quiet road. It was not until just past the Nevis Bluff in the Kawarau Gorge that a cycle path allowed me to get off the road.I put my tent up in the Arrowtown motor camp. $20.
Over the years I’ve been privileged, on occasions, to live with local families while visiting Fiji and Samoa. This has led to memorable, enriching experiences, far removed from those of the tourists staying at the resorts.
Of course, staying with someone usually comes with expectations, for example, Sunday church attendance. It’s compulsory – no ifs, no buts.
I could write a whole catalogue of clichés to describe the beauty of Omapere and the impact it has had on my life. But, let’s just start with a couple – it’s a beautiful jewel on the Hokianga Harbour, which has totally taken my heart.
“Oma-where, Oma-what. Where the hell is this Omapere?” I remember saying.
Let me start with tomatoes. My home grown tomatoes have thin skins and flesh as dense and true as wild meat. I have red, orange and pinkish heritage type with a variety of wonderful favours. But we have a short growing season and my toms are just about finished, which is why my wife bought some supermarket tomatoes.
I ate half of one.
When this wacky titled book, turned up – some new age novel I thought.
Not so. This is a true story about the jihadist takeover of the real Timbuktu and the remarkable story of one man’s finding, collecting and then saving hundreds of thousands of priceless manuscripts in Timbuktu.